Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

HIS/WMS 318W: Abolition

Primary Source Websites

Abolition, Anti-Slavery Movements, and the Rise of the Sectional Controversy


The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History


Women’s Rights


Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection


African American Odessey
Images for library of congress women abolitionist


From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909


The Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925


Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: or the escape of William and Ellen Craft from slavery
Internet Archive


St. Louis Circuit Court Historical Records Projects Polly Berry, also known as Polly Crockett and Polly Wash (b. ca. 1818 – d. ca. 1870–1880), was an enslaved African-American woman who on October 3, 1839 filed a freedom suit in St. Louis Missouri, which she won in 1843 based on having been held illegally as a slave for an extended period of time in the free state of Illinois. In 1842 Berry sued for the freedom of her daughter Lucy Ann Berry, based on partus sequitur ventrem (the child is born into the status of the mother), which she won in 1844 in a case argued by Edward Bates, the future U.S. Attorney General under President Abraham Lincoln.


Black Abolitionist Archive

Harriet Jacobs, former slave, author of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Internet Archive

Slavery and Abolition/Library of Congress


Susan Paul (1809–1841) was an African-American abolitionist from Boston Massachuesetts. A primary school teacher and member of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, Paul also wrote the first biography of an African American published in the United States. The book, Memoir of James Jackson, was published in 1835.

Lucy Stanton (Day Sessions) (born Lucy Stanton; 16 Oct. 1831-18 Feb. 1910) was an American abolitionist and feminist figure, notable for being the first African American to complete a four-year course of a study at a college or university. She graduated from Oberlin Collegiate Institute (Oberlin College) on August 27, 1850.

Maria W. Stewart (Maria Miller) (1803 – February 6, 1880) was an African-American journalist, lecturer, abolitionist and women's rights activist. Although her career was brief it was very striking. Stewart started off her career as a domestic servant. She later became an activist.

Sojourner Truth c. 1797 – November 26, 1883) was an African-American abolotionist and women's rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. Sojourner Truth was named Isabella ("Bell") Baumfree when she was born. She gave herself the name Sojourner Truth in 1843. Her best-known extemporaneous speech on gender inequalities, "Ain't I a Women?", was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio During the Civil War, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army: after the war, she tried unsuccessfully to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves.

Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross; c. 1822 – March 10, 1913) was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarion, and Union spy during the American Civil War. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made about thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She later helped John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era struggled for woman's suffrage.


“Am I Not a Woman and a Sister?”
African-American women held as slaves were particularly vulnerable to abuse at the hands of their white owners. This engraving appeared in abolitionist George Bourne’s Slavery Illustrated in Its Effects upon Women, published in 1837. It highlighted the connections between the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements, as some women abolitionists, such as Sarah and Angelina Grimke, used the anti-slavery cause to address their own plight as women. The connections they drew were highly controversial, and many anti-slavery organizations were split over the issue of women’s rights.


Hannah Valentine and Lethe Jackson Slave Letters, 1837-1838 From the Campbell Family Papers An On-line Archival Collection


The Black Abolitionist Papers V.3 The United States 1830-1846
SCSU Stacks E449.B624 1985


People of the Unerground Railroad: A Biographical Dictionary
SCSU Refrence E450 .C38 2008